Apprenticeships are currently viewed as the centre piece of the government’s skills policy with around one million applicants in the last three years. In England, apprenticeships are not restricted to age or sector and it is this flexibility that makes them unique and advantageous to businesses by widening the talent pool and encouraging diversity. Apprenticeships are not only used at entry level, but also as a career transitional tool to meet the changing needs of the workplace.
As discussions around skills shortages and skills gaps intensify and the UK faces greater competition from emerging economies, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China – it becomes essential for the UK ‘skills eco-system’ to be able to nurture and grow the skills of its workforce.
Businesses must recognise the value of apprenticeships, to both their bottom-line and the future of the UK economy. Businesses can increase competitiveness and productivity and secure the necessary skills they need to grow. All of this can be achieved with a positive return on investment usually within 18 to 24 months.
Sustainable employment is a key contributory factor to ensuring that the UK economy grows now and in the future. However, this is only guaranteed through substantial skills development of the talent pipeline. The REC believes that apprenticeships can help to redefine education and skills policy to deliver growth. High-value sectors such as engineering and the creative industries are making positive steps and leading the fight to challenge the long-term impact of a skills system that is currently ‘not fit for purpose’.
Up-skill your workforce – hire an apprentice!
The REC has identified key business benefits from the use of apprenticeships by integrating skills policy within the broader business and economic framework. Apprenticeships can assist in giving businesses greater ownership of the skills agenda by recruiting and training workers to meet their specific needs. Also, they can contribute to cost reduction by improving productivity rates, increasing workforce retention and promoting corporate social responsibility.
Addressing youth unemployment has been identified as a major priority for the government. In order to combat the issue effectively, as well as investment there is an urgent need for cultural perceptions to change. It is high time apprenticeships are valued and perceived as a viable route to a long and successful career.
With this in mind the REC, in partnership with the Skills CFA, is creating Advanced and Higher Level Apprenticeships in Recruitment in England and Wales. For more information or to register your interest go to the Institute of Recruitment Professionals website today.